Spartans Impress At The Palace, By Max DeMara

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A green and white partisan crowd in Auburn Hills was treated to one of the top heavyweight fights of the college basketball regular season thus far.

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Michigan State took control of the Spartan Clash after being down against Texas early, playing aggressive defense and getting in the face of star shooter D.J. Augustin. Texas was out muscled and out hustled all over the floor as the Spartans exerted their will many different ways. They used their size on the boards, their speed to run and their bench to wear down the Longhorns.

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Raymar Morgan played outstanding and confident as he showed off his mid-range game as well as his stellar inside game and even his defense. Key bigs Goran Suton, Marquis Gray and Drew Naymick all did their part in the middle to stop Texas. Most importantly, each seemed to make their own timely plays to ignite the crowd and the team. Enough cannot be said about the emergence of freshman Kalin Lucas, who paced the team with huge shots and beautiful fast assists. The young man seemed to make strides in growing up and his performance invigorated the rest of the bench, including fellow freshman Durrell Summers.

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Even as the Spartan lead bulged to 13, the poised Longhorns refused to back down. This team has beaten UCLA on the road, and despite this unique road environment and the odds, they fostered a valiant comeback. Texas hit three after three to trim the lead down and make a game of it until the bitter end. A key block by Raymar Morgan and great rebounding finally sealed the win.

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Fans who attended the game or watched on television should consider themselves fortunate. They may have witnessed a preview of great things to come in March provided by Michigan State and Texas. Both schools will represent well in the tournament this season. It would be even better if these teams were to play each other again, as both are well coached and full of top talent that deserves a powerful rematch on the big stage.

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The Spartans will set their sights on enjoying the holiday season. After that, they will close out the non-conference schedule and gear up for the beginning of the Big Ten season. The push for the championship should create a fun atmosphere in East Lansing for the next few months. As for Saturday night, The Palace did an outstanding job acting as Breslin east. The Spartan fans in attendance deserve credit for making the environment as electric and tough as possible.

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Tonight, Michigan State messed with Texas and won.

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